Tuesday, March 28, 2023


Nashville mourns six dead in the latest mass shooting, the EPA takes public input on a proposal to clean up Pennsylvania's drinking water, and find ways to get more Zzz's during Sleep Awareness Month.


A shooting leaves six dead at a school in Nashville, the White House commends Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's decision to pause judicial reform, and mayors question the reach of state and federal authorities over local decisions.


Finding childcare is a struggle everywhere, prompting North Carolina's Transylvania County to try a new approach. Maine is slowly building-out broadband access, but disagreements remain over whether local versus national companies should get the contracts, and specialty apps like "Farmers Dating" help those in small communities connect online.

Bill Would Ban Ranked-Choice Voting in MT Elections


Monday, February 27, 2023   

Montana lawmakers are considering banning a way of running elections known as ranked choice voting.

Under this election system, people rank their top choices in order preference - and as candidates no longer become viable based on the number of votes, voters' next option is counted.

Will Mantell, press secretary with FairVote, said ranked choice voting has benefits - such as for local, nonpartisan elections. He said these elections often are done in two rounds, with the two highest vote getters from round one running off in round two.

Mantell noted that the first round of elections usually has low turnout, forcing cities or counties to pay for two elections.

"With ranked choice voting," said Mantell, "you can do that all in one election with a 'instant runoff' that identifies a majority winner in a crowded field."

Opponents of ranked choice voting say they make elections less transparent and can lead to ballot exhaustion, which occurs when all of the candidates marked on the ballot are no longer in the contest.

Ranked choice voting is used in local elections across the country, and statewide in Alaska and Maine. A hearing is scheduled for the bill today.

Mantell said ranked choice voting is still a novel concept in Montana.

"It's important to note there are no Montana cities that are actually using ranked choice voting at this point," said Mantell. "So I'm not sure why the state would want to preemptively take this option away from cities if it's something that they want to try."

A similar measure has been introduced in the Idaho Legislature.

Support for this reporting was provided by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

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